The setting: two fictitious nations, Hastan and Llehstanz, in a past imaginary era of colonization.
Welcome to the July 10th stop on the blog tour for The Delicate Affair of Colonel Baquiste by Luki Belle with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
What personal experiences did I bring into writing my novel?
Having been born and grown up in post-colonial countries, having been on the receiving end of hate, racism, and prejudice I wanted to explore a male character who was on the colonizing side who will be a military man, ruthless, arrogant, and prejudiced, to see what could compel such a man to have a change of heart. That was the initial inspiration for The Delicate Affair of Colonel Baquiste (TDACB), which morphed into a very, very complex novel once I started thinking more about it. It was a meditational journey for me that taught me that individuals, situations, and events are never absolutes. There is always the positive side which tends to be quieter, subtler, and more like a gentle nudge while the negative is the exact opposite.
Call it a means to self-heal with an aspiration to believe that it is possible to overcome prejudice if we recognize that in our human imperfections lie the opportunity for change and the power to choose towards a positive outcome. If we were perfect and absolute, change would not be possible, if we all put our anger out into the world it would be destructive. But, if we helped ourselves compassionately, we would inevitably help others positively. It all begins with self-healing and the means to do that is to learn to change our psychological masks by allowing ourselves to immerse in another person’s world, to view the world through a different lens, to take off, even if momentarily, any forced uniform and imposed roles and to disguise ourselves, if only to catch a glimpse of our own former self and to understand the world from a different perspective.
I am technically an only child of my parents however I am in a family with other siblings who came from one of my parents’ prior marriage. The fact that I was technically an only child, many years younger than my siblings through one of my parents, I had very close relationship with one of my parents (who was not previously married), and I was surrounded by alpha adults for the most part of my growing up life. I had to learn how to navigate my way with my older siblings, cleverly and charmingly 🙂 I had to quietly and keenly observe the four adults to carve out my place in a powerful family. I took this experience and applied it to Valstohl Baquiste (the Colonel), to Chamcham (the little Hastana boy at the Yervaan palace) and to Lady Tempaley (the adolescent Hastana at Daikalin city).
Speaking of strong relationships, I have always attracted strong personalities into my life’s journey Everyone taught me lessons (some not so good but critical lessons nevertheless). I have also been blessed with erudite mentors, people who uplifted me, saw in me what nobody did at that time and who impacted my academic and professional lives positively. Colonel Valstohl Baquiste had a close relationship with his father and an interesting relationship with his mother Countess Rayaan Baquiste (no spoilers). Colonel Baquiste’s relationship with his Lieutenant Colonel, Brune Farmagash, plays an impactful role in the novel including the directive of Ambassador General Masim Tropart on the persona of disguise which the Colonel needs to embrace. I explore my experience with my mentors who saw in me something I never knew I had, near the end of TDACB (no spoilers). On the Hastana side, I have also displayed strong traditional, culture-rooted, and obedience-bound relationships between Jeshn Yervaan and his mother, between Chamcham and all the adults he must interact with and obey at the Yervaan palace, and between Lady Tempaley and her parents.
When speaking about traditional relationships, I brought my life’s experience of being from a and having lived in countries where people are bound by complex traditions, spiritual or religious practices and defined by their deep-rooted cultural beliefs. I consciously and subconsciously observed the profound dynamics of such vibrant, colorful, culture rich nations under post-colonial governance and under military rule. I heard stories from my family circle, from those who experienced colonization and how it played into their traditional way of living and how colonization impacted them both positively and not so positively. My life was also shaped by those members in my family who went through colonization and lived through the early days of post-colonial order. These observations and experiences enriched and influenced my writings in TDACB. And from this came the delicate and tricky topic of assimilation during inevitable change – how much do you change, what do you retain, how do you decide and how do you measure the consequences of decisions? These are not easy questions when you are either unsure or uncertain of or resisting change. And I do not make any statements in TDACB about assimilation because it is really defined by the circumstances and the people involved. As a reader of the novel, I hope you too will appreciate the difficult question of how much to assimilate and when to question and even resist change.
In the spirit of deciding, two last things from my personal experiences that I explored in TDACB.
I emphasize the inevitable act of choosing, non-action and silence are also choices. I have learned this the hard way while knowing that we are all empowered to choose, even a child, as is shown by the Hastana boy Chamcham who is at the center of the tense relationship between Gulaan (Valstohl) and Jeshn. While the boy is impacted by choices made by the adults around him, he too is empowered, and he makes a couple of bold and brave decisions.
Now to choose we must observe first, an important element throughout TDACB. The act of observation is a key trigger to most events in the novel starting with a very subtle act of observation hinted at, at the very beginning, which is explained at the very end. I learned from experience that what I observe is impacted as much as I am when others are observing me. An observation does not have to last for minutes or hours, it could be in a matter of seconds, and it is about what gets transpired, in that split moment, by what observes you or what you observe. Our brain is super powerful, and it does make very fast decisions. In TDACB, the Colonel goes under disguise to fulfill a military mission while immersing himself in the same society that was conquered by his nation, by the military of the Llehstanz Monarchy. Under the disguise of naturalist Gulaan Dasmire, is the Colonel able to observe his actual self (Valstohl Baquiste) and begins to reconcile Valstohl’s tragic past. The persona of Gulaan and Valstohl are closely examined by the Colonel only in disguise which ultimately leads to Colonel Baquiste’s delicate change of heart and allows him to reconcile his past grief. See if you can identify the key observation trigger that started off the story for Colonel Baquiste when you get near the end 🙂
About the Book
The Delicate Affair of Colonel Baquiste
by Luki Belle
Published 21 February 2023
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Page Count: 474
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The setting: two fictitious nations, Hastan and Llehstanz, in a past imaginary era of colonization.
The Llehstanz Monarchy won its final battle over Hastan to colonize the nation after years of war. The battlefield charge was led by a reputable, young, ruthless, and handsome Colonel Valstohl Baquiste. Highly skilled but equally arrogant, he holds a prejudice against the people of Hastan. Tragically, Colonel Baquiste was unexpectedly attacked during the last battle leaving him physically disabled. Realizing his military life is over, the embittered Colonel Baquiste awaits his dismissal to return to Llehstanz. However, he is offered a second chance for victory.
Colonel Baquiste is called back to military duty on a secret mission. He must go alone in disguise to capture elusive thugs terrorizing the Llehstanzite regiment. In accepting the mission, Baquiste realizes he is no longer fighting an enemy on a battleground when he travels to stay at the palace of renowned Southern Hastana landowner, Sir Bojeshnomaan Yervaan. Yervaans’ sinister nature ensnares Baquiste while the delicate assignment compels him to confront his tragic past and his prejudice against Hastanas. If the ambitious Colonel wants victory, it will require him to use not just his grit but also his heart.
Well, when you meet my Jeshn and you see the way he is, you will see how I dread every time he steps out of the palace grounds until the moment he returns when I can touch his face and see him alive, uninjured. Farmers don’t give up farming because this land is all they have to live on, to feed their families, to earn a living, most of which your monarchy takes away from me and if it were not for me, the widow of a landowner, the farmers would be starving and dying from the thugs and the diseased who terrorize the Daikalin people and us!” her voice was shaking from emotions which she appeared to hold back.
About the Author
Luki Belle works in the media industry. Storytelling was a fixture from childhood when she would listen to stories told by her grandparents, parents, sisters, and cousins who would read to her from diverse cultural fiction books. Growing up, Luki was fortunate to live in various parts of the world and experience beautiful cultures. During this time, she embraced and appreciated diversity among people while recognizing through love, overcoming pain, or grief, one can truly bond with others leading to unimaginable positive outcomes.
Luki Belle will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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